Rookie mistakes

I'm sure I have committed my share of
rookie mistakes]]
When you're learning something new, there's plenty you don't know and you don't know what you don't know. Once you get to a certain level of proficiency and knowledge, you can now recognize rookie mistakes made by others. I saw one such mistake this week.

I was in a client meeting in which all the executives (CEO, COO, CFO) were in attendance. An employee from one department was displaying a spreadsheet and was asked a question about dollar impact. He quickly used a SUM command on a column of data in the spreadsheet. The total amounted to just over $21 million dollars, which caused great concern among the executives. The CFO quickly said that he had not vetted the information in the spreadsheet and wanted to "take it offline" before presenting any more financial info to the group. This was the right call.

I could tell that a rookie mistake was made. The report in question was presenting medical claims information. In our system, we have "header" level data and "line" level data. If the report is showing data from the header as well as the line, there is the potential for false results. For example, a claim may have two lines, each with a charge of $250. The total charges of the claim are $500. The rookie mistake was attempting to sum the total charges column. Since the report was showing both lines of data, the $500 charge appeared twice (once for each line) in the total charge column. If you perform a sum on that column, you will falsely inflate the total to $1,000. The correct approach would be to add the total charges of each line, although that approach may also be erroneous if the line is repeated due to some other data element.

The employee was not Bradford, but he works in the same department. Perhaps Bradford should be in charge of these financial reports.
Live calculations in a meeting with the board is never a good idea if you ask me :)
2021-04-30 15:05:24
Oh I feel for the person who was doing the live calculations. I never volunteer to do anything like coding or calculations if I have an audience. My mind just doesn't function that way. 
2021-05-01 03:22:55